Cloudroom rethinks the physical space of education as teaching is reshaped by current and post-pandemic conditions. Created with input from students and staff at Central Middle School, the installation encourages new modes of learning and raises awareness about environmental challenges.
The inflatable “cloud” creates a shady microclimate for learning, playing, connecting, and interacting. The design evokes a dome and an oculus, reminding visitors and students of architectural features. Connected to environmental sensors, Cloudroom illustrates climatic conditions as the inflatable changes colors. Texts are drawn from the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and from a survey of Central Middle School students about their preoccupations, hopes, and dreams for the future.
Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo, Project Directors
Maria Vittoria Tesei
Theta Consulting, Tim Franklin
Production and Fabrication
Fabricators and Supporters
Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation
John E. Irving Dean’s Innovation Fund at the Harvard Graduate School of Design
Central Middle School
The corner of Fifth and Chestnut Streets provides the most impressive view of this distinctive sawtooth-patterned building—a nod to Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates’ Cummins Corporate Office Building on the other end of Fifth Street. It also sits close to Cummins Engine Plant Number 1, and the original garage of Clessie Cummins, the innovative force who transformed Rudolf Diesel’s engine into a 20th-century powerhouse. Central Middle School is a testament to the Cummins Foundation Architecture Program’s investment in educational facilities throughout Bartholomew County with 14 of the 17 schools built with support from this program since the 1950s.
Ecosistema Urbano was founded in 2000 in Madrid by architects Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo, and specialises in architecture, public space design, urban consultancy, and urban transformation processes. Their work has developed around the design of public space focusing on the improvement of bioclimatic conditions in contexts and climates as diverse as Norway, Florida or Bahrain. In parallel, Ecosistema Urbano has been developing participatory tools and techniques to involve citizens in the creative and transforming processes of urban environments. Their work has been exhibited in galleries and museums and covered by press around the world, garnering numerous awards. The founding partners have led workshops, lectured, and taught at the most prestigious institutions worldwide, including working as professors at the Harvard Graduate School of Design since 2010.
"To establish a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship with our environment it is necessary to understand how places and communities will respond over time, both in critical times and in long-term ever-changing scenarios. For this purpose, we bring a flexible way of thinking about how design and creativity can help to cope with urban vulnerabilities and threats. Combining technical interventions with a social agenda, our work helps to build resilient communities around the principles of participation and environmental education."
— Ecosistema Urbano
Watch this ten-minute video by Ecosistema Urbano, who presents and describes the design concept for their installation, Cloudroom. Ecosistema Urbano is a J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Recipient, a participant in the 2021 Exhibit Columbus Exhibition New Middles. This is a previously recorded and archived event, view more on our YouTube channel.
"We like the idea of reactivating the lawn with a community that is already there, the school children."